The Brian in (Early) Winter

Hello. Not sure if you remember me. My name is Brian, creator of I’ll forgive you if it’s not ringing any bells. It’s been a while since I’ve been here.

The great thing about writing is that even though I’ve wanted to write this for ages and started and stopped and rewrote and deleted and walked away and came back about ten trillion times, when you read this none of that matters. All that sputtering never happened, and this is the first or (for whatever reason) second or third time you’ve seen it because it only started existing for anyone besides me the second I hit publish. And, since you’re reading this, it means I did hit publish, which makes me happy. Little victories count, too.

So, what did I miss? Anything? You’re demanding to know where I’ve been? Well, I wish the answer was more exciting. Truth is I got kinda tired of it. Not writing in general, maintaining the site just seemed like more work than it was worth. Or maybe I was a little discouraged and burnt out because, and not that I’m scoffing at my loyal readers, here, it hadn’t really led to anything after a few years. I had some growth, but not a ton. I was never discovered, I never had my movie moment where I got called up to the big leagues. But it’s not like I was curing cancer, or anything, so burnt out is probably the wrong phrase. I guess I was just kind of out of it creatively. Lost the fire to blog for the love of the game. But, about a month after my last post previewing the 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl (feels like ten lifetimes ago), I had something planned that was going to launch me out of my comfort zone and kickstart a new era of Brian’s Den. A two-week trip to Japan, decades in the making. It was going to be one of the greatest experiences of my life and check off the number one item on my bucket list. Wait, why am I saying was? Oh, right. My flight was scheduled to depart March 24, 2020. The world stopped a few days earlier.

Outside the loss of my trip, the Quarantine Era was amazing for me. Feels a little scummy to say, but I got out of it with my health intact, and none of my friends or family got seriously sick. This scenario was out of a wet dream of mine, minus the terrifying threat to human life: you couldn’t go outside, I was getting paid not to work, endless free time, being alone was strongly encouraged. No one has ever been more in their element. It would have been a great opportunity to do something on the site. But, after a week or two of binging video games and doing nothing because this was only going to last a little while so might as well enjoy this weirdness, I forced myself to get to work on my books rather than the site. It’s just what felt right. I think it’s safe to say I had time for both, but, oh well. I apologize for depriving you.

I wrote a lot. Between the start of the pandemic until now, I finished a book, did a full revision of said book, wrote a short story, wrote another book, finished a revision of said other book, and am currently in the middle of a second revision of said other book. For someone not getting paid to do it and not getting all that close to publishing, I think that’s decent output. Even if it feels like I’m banging my head against the wall at times. Some days it’s easy to tell myself the success is coming. Some days it’s hard.

What else happened? I quit my job that I hated. Was unemployed for a while. My new job is only slightly better, but it pays a lot more. Could be worse. I could be Roger Maris, Jr.

Believe it or not, I have a girlfriend now. In fact, we’ve been together for two years and just moved in together. She’s made my life better in every way. I know all of you thought it was impossible, but I hope all of you still value my opinion on all loser-related matters. I showed the paragraph about how I treated the pandemic to the Loser Council and they say my bona fides hearing is still looking promising.

I traveled a bit. More than usual, anyway. Went to Austin twice. Went to L.A. for the first time as an adult. Went to Upstate New York a few times. All the hip places. I was tempted to make more videos, but it never really came together. The second time in Austin was for South by Southwest, and I got a badge that said Brian’s Den on it. I really should have made a video. Austin is great, and I could honestly see myself living there, or selling out and moving to Hollywood. People forget Harrison Ford didn’t break out until he was, like, 35.

Right. That happened, too. I turned 30.

Turning 30 is a weird event. You step out of the realms of the young, but are denied access to the realms of the old. Purgatory on Earth. And, like the metaphysical Purgatory, entering this fourth decade of life triggers a lot of reflection. Have I achieved what I wanted to? Am I on track to succeed in the future? Have I been a good person? Does anyone else in the entire world care that I’m grappling with my own aging? Probably not, because, hard as it is to believe, they’re all going through the exact same thing.

In the leadup to my birthday, I was staring into the void almost nightly. I still do every now and then. Probably will forever. Who doesn’t? On the bad days when I was practically living in the void, I would default to one of my favorite bad habits: comparing myself to others. I have the great pleasure of coming from a particularly accomplished and talented high school graduating class. There are engineers and medical professionals and tech wizards and people working overseas and podcasters and artists and parents and even my friend who made Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and countless other amazing journeys. A lot of great accomplishments. It was hard to measure up when I was looking at my life, because it really felt like I hadn’t really done much. That is, unless you count putting like 400 hours into Fire Emblem: Three Houses, 100%ing Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, nearly singlehandedly funding both the Pokemon Company and Wizards of the Coast, eating roughly 1,000,000,000 hot dogs in my life, and creating some of the most legendary posts, videos, and Instagram food reviews in history as not much. But then the good days come and you realize none of that matters whatsoever. Jeff Bezos got a divorce. Doesn’t that tell you everything you need to know? There’s no escape from the trials and tribulations of human life. Whatever I’ve lacked professionally I more than make up for in every other aspect of life: I have a loving family, the best friends anyone’s ever had, a great relationship, multiple enriching hobbies, I like where I live, and the Yankees still haven’t won a World Series since 2009. What is there to complain about? Again, I could have Roger Maris, Jr.’s life. Listen, don’t ask me where this ray of sunshine came from, I’m not sure, either. But I’m glad it’s there. It’s helping me (somewhat) embrace this next chapter.

Of course, there’s a bit of a roadblock in my journey to Nirvana. Like most boys, my childhood hero was an athlete. Unlike most 30-year-olds, my childhood hero is still playing, and seems to be willing to sacrifice everything in order to do so. Tom Brady nearly brought me back. First when he left the Pats, then when he won the Super Bowl with the Bucs, then when he retired, then when he unretired two seconds later. I actually felt guilty not writing a tribute to him. But I think he’s doing alright without me. Or maybe he’s not. It’s been a trying stretch for our pal Tom. Stupid family trying to get in the way of football. We all know how that is. But lost in the endless waves of mockery and belittling and thinkpieces (Everyone takes Giselle’s side, I’m not here to debate the dissolution of a marriage that I have nothing to do with, and I get that a dangerous sport like football puts an entirely different spin on things, but, I don’t know, maybe he just wants to keep playing? Doesn’t what he want matter just as much as what his wife wants? I already feel like I’m wading into deep water, here. Keep it moving.) is some jarring cognitive dissonance: the GOAT, the ultimate Alpha, has lost his way. He’s got nothing left to gain or prove whatsoever, and yet he can’t walk away. I don’t think I’m going too armchair psychologist here to say he’s probably scared of the next step in his life. A lot of athletes do, there’s no roadmap for life after pro sports and society loses its interest quickly when you’re not lacing them up every week. But Brady seems even more extreme. He’s got his sniveling witch doctor Alex Guerrero whispering in his ear, convincing him he can fight off the sunset. He’s got….. whatever is happening with his face. He disappears for days at a time. Tom, if you’re reading this, and I know you are, you need someone in your corner. Like, actually in your corner. Not a hanger-on, not a sycophant, not Grima Wormtongue who interned at an Equinox and thinks he’s a fitness expert, a friend. Tom, I’ll be your friend. I’m not asking for anything, I don’t need anything. I just want to see you thrive. We need to rediscover what your goals are. You’ve made it to 45. You’ve won more titles than anyone ever will, unless you count the theoretical championships Aaron Rodgers would have won if he just played well when it mattered one single time. You, well, had a picturesque family that you forced to eat and act like maniacs. What are we after? What’s the point of playing when you have every record imaginable? Is it because you have something to prove to yourself? That’s fine, we just need to let people know that. Do you secretly need money? That’s also fine, we just need to not let people know that, unless Guerrero stole it, then we definitely go public. Are you so addicted to the process and following your dream that you’d rather die than give it up? Well, to a much less single-minded degree, I know exactly how you feel. Tom, getting older doesn’t mean giving up. I know you’re still playing better than like, 95% of NFL QBs. Football is a taxing, dangerous game. You’ve had one major knee surgery already, want another one? We know the concussion risks. Maybe we transition to a new phase. Or maybe we just keep playing forever. But it has to be what you want. Not Giselle, not any front office, not any teammates, not any snake oil salesmen. What does Tom want? I’ll help you find out, buddy. We can get old together.

The future can be exciting.

I’m planning on going to Japan next year.

Life is good.

Alright, enough of this overly serious and self-important reflection. It’s been a long two years and I’ve got some takes that were clogging up the chamber. Gotta purge them so new opinions can form:

  • Everyone’s talking football analytics incessantly, and I wish they wouldn’t. I used to be a huge numbers guy. Used to love ’em. And I still appreciate advanced stats and making more informed decisions in sports! But it’s so insufferable, now. Everything needs to be framed through the lens of analytics, and all analytics means in NFL discussions is being aggressive on fourth down and two-point conversions. And you HAVE to have an opinion, or else! The only problem is, no normal people like talking about it whatsoever. But we have to be bombarded with the endless debates starting on Monday morning, typically centered around a team that went for it on a fourth down that in previous years teams probably wouldn’t have. If you’re a pro-analytics guy, you have to smugly explain that the thought process was infallible, results-oriented thinking is stupid (even though, again, these discussions only happen when the result is negative, and it’s negative 70% of the time), and that if you disagree you’re a combination of a neanderthal and Hitler, while insulting everyone’s intelligence along the way. If you’re anti-analytics guy, you have to stuff the nerds in the locker, say the only true way to make decisions is with your gut, preparation is for cowards, and that if you disagree, you’re a pansy and a fool. And I hate being on the Old School side, but when the anaytics mafia is a legion of smarmy, insanely haughty media members like Bill Barnwell, Warren Sharp, and an infinite number of 5’8″, 140 lbs white guys who despise football even though they write about it and how horrible and stupid everyone involved with it is, I can’t help but want to see morons like Brandon Staley fail spectacularly. I don’t hate analytics. Smart teams and aggressive coaches are good for the game. I just hate the way it’s presented. Like, hey, generic PFF writer, nobody gives a shit about your models. Why do we need models? This is FOOTBALL! It’s 22 guys banging into each other for three hours! What about it screams that we need to think about it in a “smart” way? Why do I even have to know what a football model is? Why do I have to get talked down to buy someone who jerks off into a spreadsheet? I know I’m fighting against the rising tide, here, but, like, why couldn’t we have football? Why does everything need to be optimized and homogenized and killed by data? Why can’t anything stay fun?
  • Speaking of analytics, when Mac Jones (I’m lukewarm) went down a few weeks ago, I was dying for Bailey Zappe to get in. College gunslinger with a live arm sounds better than Hoyer for the thousandth time. And when he trotted onto the field for the first time, I was fired up. Until I realized it was pronounced zap-py and not zap. He went from Brady 2.0 to Matt Flynn 2.0 in the blink of an eye. A real shame.
  • Aaron Judge, blah blah, whatever. Good season. I was just pumped I finally had a Yankee figure to despise again. Don’t know if you picked up on it, but I hate Roger Maris, Jr. I’ve never seen a bigger loser, and that included the creatures that show up to Yankee Stadium with a replica jersey unbuttoned to the belly button, three gold chains, a horrible haircut, and an ill-fitting hat. I hadn’t been following him before people randomly decided to start caring about the American League home run record, but what an unbelievable dweeb. “Oh, the clean record!” “Oh, my dad is the real record holder!” “Oh, my dad could beat up your dad!” Hey, loser, let me throw some sabermetrics at you: 73 is more than 61. 73 is the home run record. Get out of here with that “clean record” nonsense. Have you seen your precious dad’s stats? Only one season ever going over 40 homers! How the hell do we know he wasn’t doing whatever atrocious drugs they were doing back then? And Aaron Judge looks like a Marvel character! How shocking would it be if he was mixing HGH into his milkshakes? What a goober. And he just kept showing up! He has no qualifications other than being born and we had to see him every single day because Judge got cold. I’d ask what he told his boss to get such amazing treatment, but I know his only occupation is fellating his dead father. Roger Maris, Jr., get off my screen forever!
  • A few weeks into the pandemic, I finally got past the first area of Bloodborne. I’ve played it two or three times since. Absolute Mt. Rushmore-level game.
  • I got really into baking, too. Not to brag, but I’ve got a real knack for it. If only I was British, then I’d be able to dominate the tent and rack up the Hollywood Handshakes at will. Alas. I’ll settle for eating whatever I make. Maybe I should start and sell some stuff. Stand mixers are highly seeded in the Best Inventions Ever bracket.
  • I’ve always been a pepperoni guy, everyone knows this, but I’ve become a bit of a snob: if it’s not EZZO pepperoni (or whatever cupped pepperoni brand you choose) and there’s not about three pounds of it per slice, I don’t want it. That’s not true. I do want it. But the whole time I’m eating it I’ll be thinking it could be better. Then reach for another slice.
  • Watched a ton of Survivor. It’s really addicting when you’re in the mood for it. My GOATs? Boston Rob, Coach, Tony, and Yul. Based on recent casting, I think it’s safe to say I’m not getting the call, but if I ever did go to the Island, I would make it my mission to not be the first person voted out. That’s it. Once I clear the first vote, everything will fall into place, and it’ll be way less embarrassing to get kicked off. Step one: don’t be the alpha at camp, telling everyone what to do and making people mad. Has never worked once. Step two: don’t be the worst at the first challenge. Might be a coin flip, but I just need someone to be worse than me to draw everyone’s ire if we’re at tribal. Step three: don’t mention my YouTube channel or Instagram page. No need to spur any jealousy. Step four: be at least somewhat in the loop. If I’m not, I’ll know I’m on the chopping block. After that, whatever happens, happens.
  • I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Ben Simmons isn’t a foxhole guy
  • I despise Brandon Staley. I haven’t hated a coach like this in any sport in a long time, and I don’t think I’ll be hating for too much longer. A monkey could do what he does. He’s the ultimate example of the snarky talking head’s fantasy: a coach who’s such a slave to the analytics he loses the ability to think for himself. “Oh, it’s fourth and 11 from out own 24? Let’s go deep!” And then the media proclaims him the greatest thing since sliced bread. But now, stop me if you’ve heard this before, the Chargers are failing to live up to expectations and his idiocy is being put on display every week. Hey, coach, maybe a balance? Maybe use the advanced numbers and, you know, actual coaching and game-managing ability together? I just hate how this analytic circle jerk has removed all consequences for coaches. If you want to be aggressive, be aggressive. Don’t do it out of cowardice because you think it’s what the dweebs in the media want you to do. Again, I ask, why did football have to become “smart?” Who enjoys this?
  • I know I try all of these things, but the new Papa Bowl from Papa John’s sounds absolutely awful. Someone should get fired.
  • This has just become “I’m old and hate the way football is talked about now,” but I can’t stand the new trend of referring to position groups as “the _ room” like we’re on the coaching staff or something. Saying “the Bengals have a really improved d-line room” doesn’t make you sound informed, it makes you sound lame. Same for like QB1 or WR2 or whatever. Bring back Sean Salisbury and Herm Edwards so we can laugh at the dumb things they used to say.
  • If you asked me last year about the NFL’s new jersey number rules, I probably would have had a rant ready about how confusing it is, especially when the Cardinals had 1-9 on the field at once it seemed, but now it’s kind of whatever. Funny how the minor changes seem so big in the moment but given time no one cares anymore. What’s that? I spent a few thousand words whining about football changing? Umm, let’s move on.
  • The Jets don’t deserve Sauce Gardner.
  • I’m sick of the gambling talk, man. Not from everyone, I guess. Hell, picking games against the spread is something I did every week. But now that gambling is so widespread and the leagues are completely in bed with sportsbooks (work that one out, lawyers), it’s just so saturated and I’m just over it. Every pundit now has to pretend to care and give out inane parlays and picks and it’s bordering on fantasy picks. It used to be a fun wrinkle when you found someone that talked gambling. Now it’s suffocating.
  • I can’t remember if I ever talked about the depressing last season of Game of Thrones or not. It sucked. House of the Dragon is pretty good. It pleases me.
  • I love Jokic, but I’m rooting for him not to win MVP this year. The Nash-ification has already begun: public perception of a player becomes so soured because they won back-to-back “undeserved” MVPs over “cooler” candidates that they’ve become severely underrated. I know the Nuggets aren’t winning the championship this year, and so do you. Another playoff exit for the controversial MVP pick would be a horrific look. Plus, everyone’s tired of voting for him and the discourse, so I don’t think either Jokic or Embiid have a shot at winning MVP unless they put up 40-25-10 on 60/55/90% while winning 68 games, or something.
  • Celtics… well, umm, yeah. Making the Finals was sweet. Forget who was coaching them, though.
  • As a Steph Curry hipster, I was glad that he was the one that beat the Celtics, at least. I still can’t believe he’s become a legit all-timer. Most fun guy to watch play in my post-pubescent life.
  • Bucks win the title this year. Book it.
  • There are downsides, obviously, but basketball feels so much more fun to talk about than football or baseball, now. Football because of the beginnings of the data revolution and baseball because of the end of it. I still love baseball but it’s been completely solved. Outside of the playoffs there’s no drama and barely any variance or excitement. Am I a dummy for wanting so see a speedy centerfielder who hits one homer a year but steals a million bases? Because that guy doesn’t exist anymore. The Adam Dunn .210/45 homers/103 walk/185 strikeout season used to be so much more charming. Once again I ask: who enjoys this? Front office people and the handful of media members who turned numbers into their personality? What about the other 99% of the people who care about sports? God, I’m doing way too much complaining about analytics, aren’t I? New Baby Hitler rankings 1. Hitler 2. Zuckerberg 3…. Bill James?
  • After four long years of being in the only area of New York City that had no easy access to a Wendy’s, my new apartment has one that’s a feasible distance away. Things really are going my way.
  • Gerrit Cole is a baby with a stinky diaper.
  • We need to inject some positivity into this. How about this? I like how it seems like young players in every sport come in with more confidence and personality than ever before. We need more characters.
  • More dangerous object in a practice: A Russell Westbrook brick or Draymond Green’s fist?
  • I’m kinda going through the motions with the MCU these days. I don’t really watch the shows and the post-Endgame movies haven’t gotten my blood pumping. They started coming out at the perfect phase of my life, and it was such a tidy ending. Eventually I’ll miss a release and my life won’t be affected whatsoever.
  • Not sure what the best movie I’ve seen since the pandemic started, but I know it wasn’t F9. That was an insult to the Family and Paul Walker.
  • Maybe Top Gun: Maverick.
  • I’m running out of takes, so if I don’t think of anything else, it wasn’t important enough to write down. I’m not sure what this site will be going forward. It might just be me hopping on whenever I have some time or an opinion or something to talk about. Maybe it’ll be more or less frequent. But it won’t be two years.
  • Final take: inflation stinks and I wish it was reversed.

I Don’t Like March Opening Days


Opening Day in baseball is a lot of things. It’s the start of a new season, obviously, but it’s also a sign of spring, a celebration of Americana, and a wellspring of hope for baseball fans all across the world. It’s also way too early.

March 28th isn’t a baseball day. It just isn’t. The Final Four hasn’t even been set yet and I’m watching sentient side of beef Luke Voit and the Yankees face the Orioles, who might have the worst roster I’ve ever seen in professional sports. That’s an “it’s late April/early May and the stuff I actually want to do today hasn’t started yet” activity, not late March. It’s too cold for baseball. It’s not hot dog weather, it’s not sitting outside for four hours doing nothing weather, it’s not lawn mowing weather, it’s just flat out not baseball weather. What’s the point of having Opening Day this early and on a Thursday? So it gets lost in the NCAA Tournament shuffle? Sick marketing strategy.

I’m just not ready for baseball. Maybe it’s more of a me thing, but I feel like this season really snuck up on me. Like Nate Eovaldi just put the team on his back for a million innings yesterday, now it’s time for a new 162? Getting old stinks, man. I used to be so on top of this stuff. I had every sport’s opening day circled on my calendar months in advance, had every storyline memorized, knew where literally every player in the league went to elementary school, the whole thing. Now I’m being semi-surprised by baseball’s Opening Day, the most sacred of all opening days. Those two Japan games had me feeling like the Mr. Krabs meme. Whatever, get me to July when there’s nothing else going on and I’ll be back. But what I do know is that the Red Sox won the World Series last year and are bringing back the same team this year. And this season figures to have some dormant teams in the playoff mix. The Phillies, Reds, Padres, and Mets could, at the very least, not be awful this year, and might flirt with being good. Maybe this is the year the Angels actually put a contender around Mike Trout. Doubt it, but that’s the allure of Opening Day. Anything can happen. Except, apparently, starting on an appropriate date.

Farewell Ichiro

You’d be forgiven for not knowing that the 2019 MLB season actually started yesterday when the Mariners and A’s began a two-game set in Tokyo. That sentence doesn’t exactly move the needle for the American mainstream. But something monumental happened early this morning: Ichiro Suzuki, future Hall of Famer, played his last Major League Baseball game.

It’s tough to know where to start with Ichiro, especially for people who don’t remember his prime. I guess I’ll start with his numbers since they’re the only part of him that’s easy to quantify. He came to the MLB at age 27 after getting 1,278 hits with a .943 OPS in Japan and immediately won Rookie of the Year and MVP. His first 10 seasons in the league he made the All-Star Game every year, got over 200 hits every year, won a Gold Glove every year, won two batting titles, lead the league in hits seven times, and collected 2,244 hits and 383 steals. He was a beast and one of the best two-way outfielders in history who was underappreciated in his prime because he played in Seattle for a team that didn’t win a lot and in the early-to-mid 2000s we still didn’t really understand that counting wins and losses against a baseball player was kind of dumb. In 2004 guy set the record for hits in a season, won a Gold Glove, and lead the American League in WAR and finished 7th in MVP. Huh? Listen, the last eight years or so weren’t great, but the fact that he was still playing at all into his 40s is amazing. He’s the all-time hit leader if you combine his Japanese and MLB stats, and that’s really all you need to know. He’s a no-doubt, first ballot Hall of Famer.

But if he was just another great player, he wouldn’t be Ichiro. Ichiro was just cool, man. Everything about him was cooler than everyone else around him. Fastest guy in the league? Cool. Absolute rocket arm that could gun people down at age 45? Cool. Unreal highlight catches? Cool. His sunglasses were cool. His stance was cool. The Mariners Ichiro number 51 jersey was cool as hell. Was he also a fashion icon?





I’ll let you decide.

Ichiro, at least for me, is kind of the last remnant of a time I’m finding myself oddly nostalgic for (despite spending many, many words defending the current era). Ichiro came into the league two years before Moneyball was released and put us on the road to solving baseball. It was a time when speed mattered, guys actually put the ball in play, and teams had different styles of play. A time when the Three True Outcomes weren’t a widely-known concept. Don’t get me wrong, I love today’s game. But are steals and balls in play really that bad (don’t tell anyone, but I’m starting to feel this way about the NBA, too. I don’t need every game to be a Rockets game)? I wouldn’t say Ichiro wouldn’t be able to succeed in today’s homer-centric league, he’s too talented of a baseball player not to be able to adapt to any era. But his career would certainly be different, and I think it would be worse.

One of the best player profiles I’ve ever read was Wright Thompson’s piece on Ichiro from last year. He described Ichiro’s relationship with his father and how, even though he resented the endless drills and practicing, he became addicted to the craft. There’s a Japanese concept called kodawari (yes, I’m a mild weeb, but you already knew that) that’s, in essence, an extreme focus on and dedication to achieving perfection in whatever you’re doing even though you know perfection is impossible. To see Ichiro demonstrate this so clearly and come so close to finding perfection with something he doesn’t even really like is fascinating to me. Part of me wonders if we’ll ever really see Ichiro again, but something tells me he’s going to enjoy his retirement too much to come back to the game. Thnks fr th Mmrs, Ichiro.

How is there a Torii Hunter, Jr. in Spring Training Already?


I was perusing my MLB At Bat™ mobile application this weekend just getting ready for the upcoming baseball season and catching up on Spring Training storylines when I was slapped directly in the face by what has to be a false flag headline. I’m paraphrasing here, but it said something along the lines of “Torii Hunter, Jr. Powers Angels.” I immediately knew this to be incorrect, since there is no possible way that Torri Hunter, former All-Star centerfielder who retired in 2015 already has progeny in the professional baseball ranks. But, sadly, I then remembered that I already knew about THJ because he played football at Notre Dame. Following a minor breakdown where I was questioning my own transience, I began to accept this preposterous fact that Torii Hunter, who had his first MLB at-bat in 1998, had a son that was fighting for a major league spot (he’s only three and a half years younger than me, though, so maybe I’ve still got some time to make the show).

Anyway, all of this got me thinking about athlete’s sons (and daughters, too. It’s 2019, after all) and what leads to them being good or not. This isn’t an original thought, but the quality of the offspring is almost always inversely related to the parent’s ability, and Torii Hunter might have been a little too good to produce a quality major league baseball player. MJ’s kids? Stunk at basketball. LeBron’s kids have yet to make the NBA. Roger Clemens’s kids are all coaches now. They can’t be too bad, though. The sweet spot is role player to quality player. Dell Curry’s kid is good. Bobby Bonds and Ken Griffey, Sr. both had sons make the major leagues. Pat Mahomes, Sr. has a professional athlete son. The lone exception seems Vlad Guerrero, Jr., but they always say the exception proves the rule, which is a concept that makes no sense whatsoever because if a rule is something that is always true, how could the existence of something that proves the rule isn’t always true actually prove that the rule is always true? But yeah, thinking about which athletes would make the best kid. Here are my top nominees:


Robert Swift– I’ve said it before, but the time Robert Swift showed up one day with two full tattoo sleeves was one of the most shocking moments in NBA history. He sucked but had prototypical NBA size. If he can pass down that size and his son learns the 2019 big man skill set, we could be looking at the ginger Porzingis. The biggest hurdle may be finding a willing partner.


Matt Stafford– If you can’t imagine Matt Stafford, Jr. having a 6,000 yard season at Oklahoma State in 2042 then we just aren’t watching the same sport.


Jim Furyk– Couldn’t tell you why, but I imagine Furyk’s son as a real mean outside linebacker.

Milwaukee Bucks v Washington Wizards

Malcolm Brogdon– I’m gonna go a different direction, here. Malcolm Brogdon’s daughter is going to be a five- or six-time WNBA All-Star (yeah, I saw Captain Marvel on International Women’s Day, nbd).


Juan Pierre– Juan Pierre’s kids are going to be absolutely nasty at baseball. Just disgustingly filthy. A 50-50 season might be on the table.


Tom Brady– Come on, you think Tom’s seed isn’t magic?

Red Sox Win the World Series

Folks, it’s the seventh inning and I’m already typing this up. That’s how much the Red Sox have dominated the Dodgers. That’s how much they’ve dominated the entire league all season. The Boston Red Sox are World Champions once again.

The 18-inning loss would have broken most teams. Going down 4-0 the night after losing an 18-inning game would have broken every team. Every team except this Red Sox team. The ate the adversity and spit right back in the Dodgers’ face. Blowout in game 4. Blowout in game 5. One of the most anticlimactic championships I’ve ever experienced. And friends, I’ve experienced a lot of them. Five from the Patriots, four from the Red Sox, one each from the Celtics and Bruins, and two from UConn basketball while I was attending the school. Four if you just factor it all in. Imagine rooting for another group of teams? I can’t.

What a season. What a postseason. So many new Boston legends born in the blink of an eye. Steve Pearce the G.O.A.T. David Price bashed the haters’ brains in. I would die for Joe Kelly, Ryan Brasier, and Nate Eovaldi. Brock Holt might be the most reliable player on the team. If you told me how many future MVP Raffy Devers would win I wouldn’t believe anything under six. Mitch Moreland singlehandedly saved the season. No one will remember how much Mookie and J.D. sucked at the end since they both went deep and now we can just think of them as two of the top three MVP vote getters. Every time I think of Chris Sale’s speech I’m ready to run through the thickest brick wall ever constructed. If 2004 and 2013 never happened, this would be my favorite baseball team ever.

The only question that should be on anyone’s lips is this- Are the 2018 Boston Red Sox the best team of all time? 108 wins. 11-3 in the postseason against two 100-win teams and the loaded Dodgers. Second-most total wins by a title winner ever. Best offense, best defense, and apparently best pitching in the league. I’d put them against anyone in history. Maybe I’m just caught up in the hype. Although, after all these rings, the winning doesn’t feel quite as special as it used to and the losing feels worse. Good thing I don’t do much losing.

I Won’t Let People Forget About Nathan Eovaldi

I’m going to keep this brief since I’m courageously battling a cold/flu hybrid and staying up until 3:30 surprisingly didn’t help, but last night Nathan Eovaldi submitted a classic Forgotten Playoff Moments game, and I refuse to let him fade into obscurity.

Now, assuming the Red Sox still win the World Series, the likelihood of of him going the way of Chase Utley in 09 are reduced. But the fact that he was the losing pitcher in the longest playoff game ever doesn’t help things. Eovaldi dominated this game. As much as Walker Buehler (remember him?) owned the Sox, Eovaldi owned the Dodgers. 6 innings, one earned run, five strikeouts out of the bullpen when he’d pitched both games before? That should be legendary. Instead, he’ll just be a trivia answer.

Eovaldi put his nuts on the table and dared anyone to do something about it. Eventually, attrition won out. But those twelve hours in between when he entered and when the game ended? It should go down in playoff lore. It was one of the best pitching performances these eyes have ever seen. It reduced Rick Porcello to tears, for crying out loud! This game could have ended a million times before it actually did, but Eovaldi did all any person could have done to keep it going. When he was on the Yankees, I hated Eovaldi passionately. My least favorite player since Joba Chamberlain. I thought he sucked and was grossly overhyped. Now? I would die for him. That’s what playoff baseball does.

An Open Letter to Yankee Fans


Last night, the Boston Red Sox finally put the Yankees out of their misery. Eliminated them in four games (in Yankee Stadium, no less) to advance to the ALCS. This, of course, means that the Yankees will no, in fact, win the World Series this year. And that makes me sad for Yankee fans everywhere. I know I’ve been hard on this unlikable group of chain wearing, jersey unbuttoning, roided up, greasy, fake-Italian mouth-breathers who can only count to 27 and have an average IQ lower than Mariano Rivera’s postseason ERA, but I’d like to take a moment and give them a message of hope and inspiration:

Good luck in 2019.

MLB Playoffs Start Tonight

Toronto Blue Jays v Boston Red Sox

Alright, I know my baseball coverage has been lacking this year, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been paying attention. Some mixture of business and lethargy kind of hamstrung a lot of stuff I was planning to do during the summer, and baseball kind of got lost in the shuffle once football started. Nothing brings me back to the Pastime, though, than the postseason. The air gets a little crisper, the leaves turn, and buttholes clench tighter and tighter with every pitch, each one having the possibility to decide an entire season. I’ve discussed the baseball playoffs before, but there’s nothing quite like true unpleasantness of playoff baseball to remind everyone why baseball is great. It makes sense, trust me.

This year, there is a clear imbalance the leagues. The American League had three teams win 100 games and another that won its division by a thousand games. The National League had a bunch of good, not great teams. Christian Yelich, who will likely be named NL MVP, wouldn’t finish in the top five of American League voting. Even the A’s, surely the consensus pick for the weakest AL playoff team, would be favored against whomever wins the NL. I mean, no offense to the Braves, but they’re hosting a playoff series while the Yankees are in the Wild Card Game. That tells you all you need to know.

The biggest question, in my biased opinion, facing the league is who can beat the Red Sox? They put together one of the best seasons in franchise history and looked to be the best team in baseball for much of the year. The only problem is the bullpen is hot garbage outside Craig Kimbrel, and they had a troubling inability to beat the Indians, Astros, and Athletics. In case you forgot, those are three of the four playoff teams in the American League. Uh-oh. The Sox did comparatively well against the Yankees, but you’re asking for trouble if you want to face Judge and Stanton in a playoff series. The American League is an unforgiving gauntlet that will force teams to dig deeper than they’ve ever dug before and exhaust every possible option. Whoever wins the pennant will truly earn it. That’s kind of why I’m worried about the Sox. I love this team. It’s easily been my favorite iteration since at least 2013. But there’s just way more questions than there should be about a 108 win team. What happens if Chris Sale isn’t healthy and/or still isn’t great in the playoffs? What happens if the Yankees win the Wild Card and David Price has to pitch against them? Who pitches game 3? Who pitches in literally any inning besides the ninth if things get hairy? I know the offense will show up, and I know the defense will show up. But the pitching, AKA the most important thing in October, is very shaky. That, as they say, is bad. I’ve had a sinking feeling that all these wins would lead to an early exit with the wrong matchup. I’m confident the Sox will win their ALDS. But the Astros and Indians form a collective bugaboo that I’m not sure they can overcome. I’m just glad Alex Cora’s at the helm this time around.

The National League, despite (or, more likely, because of) the lack of juggernauts, is even murkier. The Braves are the only team I would be surprised to see in the Fall Classic, and even then they have enough elite talent to carry them through three weeks. The Cubs and Dodgers should probably be viewed as the two favorites, both because of the talent level and playoff pedigree, but the Cubs might not even survive tonight. The Brewers would be the logical successor to the Cubs position as NL Alpha, but their pitching is in even worse position than the Red Sox, and that’s saying something. The Braves are probably just happy to be there and have their eyes on the coming years. The Rockies, the proverbial Team Playing Well at the Right Time, are red hot and posses the rarest of commodities: pitchers that perform well in Coors Field. But they scored nearly 100 fewer runs on the road than they did at home, and they’re going on the road to play the Wild Card game. The Dodgers, meanwhile, are doing their darnedest to take baseball into the Super Team era, but all of their flashy acquisitions kind of didn’t do that great, and most of their superstars took a step back this season. Do you trust Max Muncy to carry the team? I don’t. Every single NL team has strengths and crippling weaknesses. Who do I think will win? Probably the Dodgers. It just feels like they have the deepest lineup and the deepest pitching. I’d love for the Rockies or Brewers to pull it out, but I just can’t see it.

So, yeah, playoff baseball is finally here. I’ve got a feeling this year’s gonna be something special, folks. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy grind out every second of the games.

BREAKING: Todd Frazier, Major League Baseball Player, Once Played Little League Baseball


Absolutely astonishing news has just crossed the Brian’s Den News Desk. The kind of news that shakes the very fabric of society. I can assure you, you’ll forever remember when and where you first heard this. I’m sorry in advance for shattering your entire world view, but I’ve just learned that Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series.

As startling as it may seem, it is indeed true. Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series. I can barely believe it, myself. Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series. To think that someone who performs at the highest level of his profession started playing early in life is crazy enough, but that a future Major League Baseball player would be considerably better than his young peers? Excuse me? What a story. Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series.

For those who don’t know (count me among them, because everything about this story is blowing my mind), the Little League World Series is played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Last night MLB had their Little League Classic, which is also played in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The Mets played in this game. Todd Frazier is on the Mets. Unbeknownst to me, this was not the first time Todd Frazier had played a baseball game in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series, which is a fact I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series for Toms River, New Jersey, which, in the cosmic sense of things, is close to New York City, the city in which he currently plays. The story keeps getting stranger, but stick with me for a moment. Last season, he played for the Yankees, who also play in New York City. After playing in the Little League World Series for Toms River, New Jersey, Todd Frazer got to meet the Yankees, particularly Derek Jeter. There’s photo evidence to prove it to the all the doubting Thomases out there who share my struggles in believing such an outlandish story:


I just can’t believe something like this escaped my knowledge for so long. I mean, I’m a pretty plugged-in guy. Nary a minor sports storyline goes unnoticed in the Brian’s Den, and yet, here we are. It’s August 20th, 2018, and I just learned that Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series. I guess it’s true what they say: you’re never too old to learn that Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series.


Me when someone asks if I knew Todd Frazier played in the Little League World Series:

It is with a Heavy Heart that I Announce the New York Yankees have Passes Away


BOSTON- At approximately 12:50 this morning, the New York Yankees, baseball’s most historic team (owner of 27 ringzzz, if you hadn’t had the pleasure of interacting with a member of the Yankees’ faithful before), were murdered in cold blood by the Boston Red Sox in front of over 37,000 witnesses. The trial is expected to be swift and efficient, as there is little doubt over the perpetrator or method. The Red Sox used a blunt object (believed to be a baseball bat) to cave the fragile skulls of the Bronx Bombers and left them to bleed out on the field. A gruesome sight, to be sure. Many fans are despondent over the loss of their team and have begged God for another chance, but the Almighty has responded, saying “those overdramatic idiots already used up their prayers on a three-week Aaron Judge DL stint, they’re not getting shit.” The Yankees leave behind superstar Aaron Judge and Joba Chamberlain 2.0 Gary Sanchez, who were spared the massacre by virtue of being on the disabled list, an odd bit of mercy displayed by the assailant. Not all is lost, however. Though the Yankees on the whole demonstrated an alarming amount of cowardice over the course of the murder, one player, Shane Robinson, had a fine final hour. According to Brian, of tiny independent website, Shane Robinson is now his most hated Major League Baseball player and that he “hopes that ugly-ass bald gnome has a good time trying his little heart out while rotting in hell,” and that “I thought the Little League World Series didn’t start until the end of the month.”

For their part, the culprits can now be considered serial killers, as they have murdered numerous baseball teams before turning their sights to their oldest rivals. They appear to be an unstoppable beast with an insatiable lust for blood. With the best lineup in the league and one of the best pitching staffs, they will continue to pile up victims if left unchecked. Chris Sale, Mookie Betts, and J.D. Martinez have amassed horrifying body counts and deserve to spend the rest of their lives in prison.

When reached out to for comment, Yankee manager Aaron Boone was surprised to hear of his team’s death, and “didn’t think anything was going wrong.”

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